- Vieux Château Certan
- Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2021 - 2034
- Case size
Goedhuis, February 2018
Charming aromas of plums and damsons, with a hint of herbaceous Cabernet Franc. This is a wine with harmony and gentle charm. The natural generosity of fruit is balanced with lovely elegance. Very long and very refined.
Goedhuis, April 2015,
Supremely stylish and one of the most exciting wines of the vintage; this is an absolute beauty, highlighting this famous property’s sublime location and ability to produce one of the world’s finest Merlot/Cabernet Franc blends. A wine of extraordinary balance, concentrating on elegance and finesse. Some critics may underestimate its sheer class as it isn’t a blockbuster, but it is extraordinarily layered with immense complexity and charm.
Neal Martin, April 2015,
The Vieux Château Certan 2014 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Franc, picked in three stages: 19-20 September, 29 September to 2 October and 7 and 8 October. The yields came in at 38.7 hectoliters per hectare with 13.4% alcohol. Noticeably deep and clear in color, the nose takes time to “rev up” but stick with it because it eventually reveals exquisite pure blackberry and briary scents. It is not a powerful set of aromatics but they are so finely tuned and pretty. The palate is one of the best you will find this vintage: very precise and focused, here the intensity delivered by that Cabernet Franc, complex and cerebral like the best VCC’s. Truffle, blackberry, woodland aromas waft temptingly from the glass and there is the perfect balance of sweetness and reserve to beg another sip. Alexandre and his son, Guillaume Thienpont may have overseen the best wine of the vintage.
Antonio Galloni, April 2015,
One of the highlights of the vintage, the Vieux Château Certan is a wine of total finesse. Sweet floral notes meld into a core of blue and purplish-hued stone fruits. The tannins are present, but they are noble and barely perceptible. With time in the glass, the floral/savory notes become even more expressive, but it is the wine's textural elegance that truly elevates it. The 2014 finished with bracing freshness and palpable sense of energy. Readers who can find the 2014 should not hesitate, as it is truly superb.
James Suckling, March 2015,
There’s a purity of fruit in this wine that shows the soil and uniqueness with wet earth, tobacco, mushroom and red fruits. Full and silky with fine tannins and a fresh finish. The 20% cabernet franc makes this wine great. It’s like a wonderfully cut ruby.
Decanter, April 2015,
Classic blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet. Real personality. Elegant, perfumed nose with blueberry, violet and chocolate notes. Refined tannins provide a velvety texture as well as persistence and length. Lovely fruit, fine structure. Vibrant, fresh finish. Drink: 2022-2040
Matthew Jukes, May 2015,
(80 Merlot, 19 Cabernet Franc, 1 Cabernet Sauvignon) | 13.4% alc. | 63 IPT. Guillaume Thienpont, in spite of his youth, is turning into the consummate winemaker / raconteur. His descriptions of the weather and the challenges ought to be filmed and distributed as the standard learning tool for those people who want to understand the trials and tribulations of the Bordeaux vigneron. His description of this year’s wines as ‘cool climate with tension’ sums up the entire vintage succinctly and accurately. After an anxious August, which could have given them worse wines than 2013, it all turned around and the ‘miracle’ happened. Along the way they experienced botrytis on green berries(!) and even a vinegar fly called Drosophila Suzukii (which we nicknamed the ninja) which doesn’t wait until there is a wound in a grape to exploit the sugar inside or lay eggs, it actually slices its way in with a sawlike ovipositor! Anyway, these need to be dealt with by dropping fruit immediately. They had one block affected by this pest. They also practised judicious de-leafing on the morning sun side initially to help with ripening and air-flow and then turned this practice around and de-leafed on the afternoon side one week before harvest to assist phenolic development. Concerned about when to pick, as there was some humidity from water in the soil, they literally watched the conditions day by day, needing a clear five-daywindow to bring the fruit in in optimum conditions. They managed to nail it, of course, and the result is a precise, driven and very direct wine with a graphite shaft of purity running its length and gorgeous violet-scented fruit. Guillaume described the Cabernet Franc component as ‘dentelle’ (lacy) and with punchy acidity, which was slightly higher than usual giving a fresh crunch on the finish, this wine is packed with drama. The momentum on the palate doesn’t divert from its mission to thrill and enliven the taste buds. This is a precision-made, ultra-fine wine with great length and perfectly controlled oak. It is one of a handful of elite wines on the Right Bank in 2014.
Jancis Robinson, April 2015,
Dark crimson. Lighter nose than some vintages. Very fruity with a rich undertow that almost disguises the tannins. Definitely a lighter wine than usual. Sinewy and sort of aggressively Moueix style! It may take on flesh and may just be a dark horse. The spread on the finish is very impressive. A bit green and sinewy. Drink 2024-2040
Tim Atkin, May 201595
“Very happy given what it could have been,” is owner Alexandre Thienpont’s modest comment on his own wine. Silky, refined and elegant, this is fresh and very aromatic, with fine tannins that build on the palate. Very Pomerol, but above all very VCC, it’s grassy, complex and well balanced. Drink: 2020-32
Wine Spectator, March 2015,
Reserved in terms of aroma, but shows beautiful mouthfeel and depth, with pure cassis, blueberry and plum fruit that glides along, laced with a lively tobacco leaf note and backed by a sanguine twinge. Ample singed vanilla and alder accents chime in as well, but they stay in the background while the fruit plays out. Tasted non-blind.
Vieux Château Certan
What is there not to like about this château and its amiable owner, Alexandre Thienpont? Sensitive,reflective and wonderfully humble, he is of the school who believes that wine makes itself. He is just the assistant who helps it along the way. And the wine certainly seems to be spectacular year after year.
The small sub-region of Pomerol is situated north-east of the industrious city of Libourne. Pomerol's soils are predominately iron-rich clay with a smattering of gravel that produce wines with extraordinary power and depth. As a result of this clay-dominance, it has the highest percentage of Merlot planted in all of Bordeaux. Certain châteaux are produced exclusively from this grape, but most incorporate smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well. Despite its hefty (if not exclusive) proportion of Merlot, many people think of wines from this region as separate entities. As one wine aficionado stated recently, "It's not Merlot. It's Pomerol." Despite the region's small size, Pomerol contains some of the world's most sought after (and expensive) wines including Pétrus, Le Pin, Lafleur, l'Evangile and Vieux Château Certan. Unlike other Bordelais subregions, there is no system of classification. The châteaux are traded on reputation alone.